Clothing in America 1850s-1900

In 19th century America, clothing styles were beginning to become more modern, and more fancy. For example, during 1850-1900 a typical, fancy American man wore silk vest, with metal buttons. Although clothing styles changed greatly, fashion continues to define a persons social status.

In 1850, the popular clothing style among American men was known as Victorian. Men influenced by Victorian styles typically wore a fancy, often luxurious vest over a nice dress shirt, along with a slim, dark colored coat called a frock coat. Styles of course were reflected differently among age, and young men were often considered more stylish. In 1960, Tailcoats, similar to frock coats, but with a longer tail, became popular among older men.

business man

This is a photograph of a typical business man in America during 1850. The style of his fancy clothes and his pocket watch reveal him as a wealthy man. Wearing an asymmetrical cravat, this was another fashionable item among fancy-dressed men, and very popular during this time. Like this gentleman, men often styled a wave in their hair, or parted it in the middle. Common coat colors were black and dark brown, often thought of as a conservative color.

Starting 1900, many of these 19th century trends had gone out of style, such as middle-parted hairstyles. However, the traditional dress shirt, tie, and coat was still popular among men, and being fancy was still common among wealthy men. Despite fancy trends, new styles like Western were now becoming popular among American men, especially in the west.


– Grady Kinnoin


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